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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Age-related lesions in laboratory-confined raccoons (Procyon lotor) inoculated with the agent of chronic wasting disease

item Hamir, Amirali
item Miller, Janice
item Richt, Juergen
item Kehrli Jr, Marcus
item Williams Jr, Elizabeth -

Submitted to: Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: March 1, 2007
Publication Date: November 1, 2007
Citation: Hamir, A.N., Kunkle, R.A., Miller, J.M., Cutlip, R.C., Richt, J.A., Kehrli, Jr., M.E., Williams, Jr., E.S. 2007. Age-related lesions in laboratory-confined raccoons (Procyon lotor) inoculated with the agent of chronic wasting disease. Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation. 19(6):680-686.

Interpretive Summary: Lesions of abnormal accumulation of watery fluid in uterus (hydrometra) are described in an adult laboratory-confined raccoon (Procyon lotor). This report appears to be the first documented case of hydrometra in a raccoon. The long non-reproductive period of laboratory confinement of this raccoon may have led to the observed detrimental impact on the genital health of this animal.

Technical Abstract: This communication documents age-associated pathologic changes and final observations on experimental transmission of chronic wasting disease (CWD) by the intracerebral route to raccoons (Procyon lotor). Four kits were inoculated intracerebrally with a brain suspension from mule deer with CWD. Two uninoculated kits served as controls. One CWD-inoculated raccoon was humanely killed at 38 months after inoculation, and 1 control animal died at 68 months after inoculation. Both animals had lesions that were unrelated to transmissible spongiform encephalopathy. Six years after inoculation, none of the 3 remaining CWD-inoculated raccoons had shown clinical signs of neurologic disorder, and the experiment was terminated. Spongiform encephalopathy was not observed by light microscopy, and the presence of abnormal prion protein (PrP**d) was not detected by either immunohistochemistry or Western blot techniques. Age-related lesions observed in these raccoons included islet-cell pancreatic amyloidosis (5/6), cystic endometrial hyperplasia (3/4), cerebrovascular mineralization (5/6), neuroaxonal degeneration (3/6), transitional-cell adenoma of the urinary bladder (1/6), and myocardial inclusions (4/6). The latter 2 pathologic conditions were not previously reported in raccoons.

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